Caitlin LaGroneDr. Ramsey English Composition II 19 April 2018Through a Soldiers Eyes Wilfred Owen utilizes his poems to display problems throughout war that soldiers deal with which is not easy. They face many trials that sometimes leads to death. Death does not care who you are or where you are when it is ready for you it will take you. Sacrifices are made, and it is a personal choice. He allows these poems to foreshadow what can happen or what they must conquer as their time as a soldier. Owen illustrates throughout his poems, “Anthem For Doomed Youth,” “S.I.W.,” and “Dulce es Decorum Est,” how the soldiers have faced multiple physical and mental challenges throughout their times during service.
Throughout Owen’s poem “Anthem For Doomed Youth,” he displays the physical hardships that are faced by soldiers but also the families of the soldier. Owen begins his poem with how the hardships are faced by a soldier and their families as well:What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? ” — Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattleCan patter out their hasty orisons (1.1-4).
“The “passing-bells” is a demonstration of how the deaths are announced to the world. The soldiers do not get a real prayer or rights like the Christians get back home, they received the right to a rifle being shot at them. They received sounds of the “rapid rattle of gun fire (1.3),” as a choir instead of a choir from a church as they fall to death. Owen suggest that they are not getting the real respect from the organized religion for those dying on the lines when it comes to war. The families are faced with not being able to honor their family member the correct way.
The soldiers are putting their life on the line for the country but are not getting the right recognition that they are so deserving of. Their families believe they deserve a true memorial service where they are honored with the respect they are deserved. The soldiers go through a lot, but it also takes a toll on the families as well. The soldiers faced many obstacles but the harshest one was watching one of their own hit the ground injured or experiencing death. Owen utilizes “what candles may be held to speed them all? Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes” (9-10), to demonstrate the soldiers’ eyes lit up as they saw one of their family members lying on the ground suffering of and injury or death. Seeing one of their family members as they thought of them laying on the ground suffering was one of the hardest things for them to watch due to them all wanting to make it out alive together.
The eyes of the surrounding brothers as a army soldier would call his friends are lit up with broken spirits and defeat. Harold Bloom illustrates that Owen’s poems that war has gone far beyond religion since they all sin and do what is best for the country to obtain their freedom (Bloom par. 3)Also, Owen indicates an infliction with a solider that cannot decide between facing the hardships or going ahead and ending his life to avoid them in “S.I.W.” Struggling is not an easy thing to accept.
At the beginning of the poem Owen exposes the father stating, “he’d always show the Hun a brave man’s face (2),” but the son is honestly terrified but cannot dishonor his fathers wishes of him going in the army, so he puts on an act that he is brave. The kid only wanted to show his father that he was brave but did not want to let him down either. Merryn Williams suggests that the father believes that if his son commits suicide he will be dishonored because it is not an action that is honored like one that puts himself on the line for the country, committing suicide is too easy compared to being on the front line (Williams par.10), The solider is going through being shot at, depression, sickness, injuries, but also having to pretend to be brave when they are really terrified due to the fact they never know when their life may end or if they will even make it out alive.
“Where once an hour a bullet missed its aim and misses teased the hunger of his brain (12-13),” is displayed throughout Owens poem as a display of how the soldiers brain hungers for a bullet as they are missed by them but also their brain gets jittery because they never know when one will strike. But sadly, the solider cannot take it any longer “this time, Death had not missed (26),” the self-inflicted wound theory took over his mental state and he followed through with it but made it look like it had been made on purpose due to the others finding a bullet within the body. Death occurred from the wound and could not be changed or stopped. During Owens poem “Dulce es Decorum Est,” he establishes more difficulties that the soldiers are having to face during the battle times.
Daniel Hipp portrays the poem as the soldiers are dealing with shellshock due to their inabilities to walk and hear as their major flaws throughout the war times but also, they are drunk half the time which can affect their mental abilities and play a part in their flaws as well (Hipp par.26), any struggles that were faced were “Many had lost their boots, but limped on, blood-shod (5-6),” covered in blood and carrying themselves on just their feet was not an easy thing. They were sometimes covered in blood from head to toe due to all the action going on back and forth. Most had injuries but had to overcome the injuries and continued to fight for the achievement of freedom.
Along with the injuries and no shoes they also faced “all went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of gas-shells dropping softly behind (6-8),” these defects affected their mind and did not allow them to have a mental capacity to comprehend what was going on around them or how to overcome not being able to deal with what was going around them. Some had to deal with higher up problems such as “Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! —An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time (9-10),” some had to have quick reflexes to put a gas mask on without having any trouble and being very quick about it because they do not have much time to protect themselves from the gas being used against them. The characteristic of displaying fast reflexes can save themselves from the actions of destruction from the gas that is deadly.
Throughout Wilfred Owens three poems he utilizes them to prove that being a soldier is tough but can be accomplished. A soldier is an honor and it takes a brave person to face the hardships and overcome adversity. Owen portrays these poems to display what a soldier is signing up for when they began thinking about the Army.